September 1982, the location Oakland California, Dix Ozier, Candidate Mills College Masters Degree in Music forms two US Masters programs. One is at Mills College, known as the Mills Aquatic Masters, and the other is at the Claremont Hotel and is called Pisces Masters. Dix is the Coach Owner of these two programs. The summer of ’87 arrives and circumstances conspire to move these teams out of their homes and a search begins for a new pool.
The search committee identifies free pool time at Holy Names College and the two teams decide to move there and combine to form one team, the Manatee Aquatic Masters. MAM Inc. is a 501(c)(7) corporation, owned and operated by a Board of Directors. Dix is hired as head coach, and the Manatees prosper in their new home. In 1988, Dix is recruited by the Holmes Lumberjax Swim Club of Florida, who put together an “unofficial” US Team for the FINA Masters World Championships in Perth Australia. Dix makes the journey and comes home with a World Record in the 50m Backstroke (:24.7), and a new sweetheart (awww). Dix’s soon to be spouse wishes to return to her home in New Zealand, and Dix is up for the trip.
In 1990 Dix bids Oakland and the Manatees adieu, and sets sail for points west, leaving the Manatees coach-less. Brian Stack, an assistant coach for the Manatees, who started with the team in 1986, applies for the job in November 1990 and is hired. The Manatees swim into the ‘90s as a growing team, both in members and reputation. By 1997 we are swimming about 22 hours a week at Holy Names and many of the practices are at capacity.
That year the Manatees receive an invitation from the Aquatics Director at Mills College to come and take a look at their new pool. In 1998, the Manatees are on the road again, settling at Mills’ new pool. The size of the Mills Pool allows for more growth and soon the Manatees have hit 200+ members, making us the largest Masters swimming team in the East Bay.
In April 2008, after our contract was up at Mills, we made our way back up Highway 13 to the friendly Holy Names campus. Sadly, Holy Names University closed its pool in May 2017; but happily, the City of Emeryville re-opened its municipal pool the same year. Manatee Aquatic Masters swims every morning at the Emeryville Center of Community Life.
We have members who swim for both fitness and training for competition (swimming and triathlon; pool and open-water events). We pride ourselves on being a friendly, welcoming team for swimmers of all levels and swimming backgrounds.